School Board Member Tammy Derenak Kaufax Newsletter

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Tamara Derenak Kaufax

Contact Tamara:

Phone: 571-423-1081


Joann Kinney
Executive Admin Assistant





Kaufax Koffee

Tuesday, May 3

9:30-11:30 am

Grounded Coffee

6919 Telegraph Rd








April in Lee District finds our students’ talents on full display with musical theater productions! I encourage you to come out and see the amazing, talented students in our schools.  With the final quarter almost here, budget conversations are in full gear and thoughts of graduation and plans for the next school year are underway.  Please take a moment to read about happenings both here in Lee District schools and FCPS system-wide. I welcome your comments, compliments and concerns. Hope to see you at my upcoming coffee!

Complimentary Theater Tickets for Senior Citizens

We have some marvelous school productions coming up and, once again, we would like to offer complimentary tickets to our senior citizens (65+, please) for the opening night of each play listed below.  Complimentary tickets are available for the three starred events simply by calling my assistant Joann Kinney at 571-423-1065 and providing your name and the number of tickets you would like. You will pick up your tickets at Will Call in the lobby of each show just prior to curtain time!  It’s easy and a wonderful opportunity to visit our community schools and glimpse the amazing talents of our Lee District students.  Other show times are listed for your interest and convenience.

Lee High School
*4/7  Annie  7pm
 4/8  Annie  7pm
 4/9  Annie  7pm

Edison High School
*4/21  Once on This Island  7pm
 4/22  Once on This Island   7pm 

 4/23  Once on This Island  7pm

 4/27  Band Solo and Ensemble Concert 7pm

Twain Middle School
*4/15  Seussical the Musical  7pm
 4/16  Seussical the Musical  2 and 7pm
 4/17  Seussical the Musical  2pm 



I have always believed that strong schools equal strong communities.  It is essential to invest in education not just for the obvious reason of providing a foundation and pathway for a successful life for future generations, our community’s children, but also because a community that invests in its schools will attract businesses to keep the community vibrant.  A strong school system has proven to be a critical factor in maintaining high property values.  

Fairfax County Public Schools have been instrumental in keeping the Fairfax brand strong.  We are the number one reason businesses come to our county.  Our students are a high achieving group with an on-time graduation rate in 2015 of 93% and with 74% of our graduates attending post-secondary programs.  FCPS students out perform their peers in both national SAT and state SOL tests.


But we cannot sustain the excellence that our community expects of our schools if we continue to follow the pattern of harsh reductions, due to funding that has not kept pace with our needs.


When adjusted for inflation, we are now spending $1,000 less per child, in real dollars than we were in 2008.  And while our incoming population appears to have leveled off this year, since 2008 we have welcomed 23,000 new students-making us the 10th largest school system in the nation. 


 Also since 2008, we have made reductions of nearly one half a billion dollars and have eliminated close to 2,200 positions.  These cuts have been made by reducing departments, reducing central office support, reducing school based support, reducing programs, reducing needs based staffing, reducing student activities --and raising class size.


The heart of our system is our employees and our teachers are the heart of our classrooms.  However, FCPS is significantly below the market average versus surrounding areas for teacher salary and total compensation. 


After years of cuts, this year’s advertised budget includes no reductions to instructional programs or services to students or schools. It is a budget that adds funding for our most pressing needs-employee salary increases with a focus on increased compensation for our mid-career teachers.  And, it is a budget that begins to “right size” our elementary classrooms after raising class sizes 3 times in the past decade. 


Seventy six percent of our funding comes from the County. Fifteen percent from the State and 7% from sales tax. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has authorized a maximum advertised real estate tax rate of $1.13 per $100 of assessed value for the FY 2017 budget, which is four cents higher than the current FY 2016 rate.  Assuming an increase in line with the recommendation from the County Executive of 3%, accounting for budget proposals under consideration in Richmond, and estimating an increase in sales tax revenue, our projected budget shortfall at this time is $49.3 million.  A shortfall of this magnitude would again force us to make painful cuts-cuts that would fundamentally change our school system. 


 If you believe now is the time reinvest in our schools let your voice be heard.  I encourage you to take an active part in this process in these crucial last two months.  Call or write to our Board as well as our primary funding body, the Board of Supervisors, to share with us your opinions to keep our schools strong. Budget Calendar  


One of the things that drives FCPS’ success is our ability to continually meet the wide and varying needs of all children who come to our doors-those who need advanced learning programs, those who thrive in our general education curriculum and those with special educational needs.  Budget reductions come with a price and the price should not be our children’s future. 


Advertised Budget Presentation


FY 2017 Budget


Genesys Works

Genesys Works is an innovative organization that changes the life trajectory of underprivileged high school students by providing extensive training and year-long IT-focused internships at major corporations during their senior year in high school. The students are trained to perform critical job functions including PC deployment and imaging, hardware and software upgrades, PC and network troubleshooting, and help desk support.  With support from the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), six schools will incorporate the Genesys Works program in the next year including Mount Vernon High School, Lee High School, and West Potomac High School. 

Pre-Labor Day Start

The Fairfax County School Board is seeking input on starting school in 2017-18 prior to Labor Day. A survey has been sent to parents and staff to determine support. I hope you have participated in this survey.

The calendar change is under consideration as Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is now eligible to waive the state's post-Labor Day requirement for starting school.  FCPS qualifies for the waiver because, during five of the past 10 years, the district has averaged 8.4 days missed due to weather conditions and other events.  If school begins in August, the school year would end earlier in June, and after the first year of implementation, summer break will be equally as long as summer break in the current calendar. The School Board has directed that only a change of one to two weeks prior to Labor Day will be considered. 


2016-17 Kindergarten Orientation and Registration

Do you know of a child who will be five years old by September 30? If so, the base school of the child’s residence can make arrangements for kindergarten enrollment. Forms and other information about registration are available online.



It’s not too soon to put graduation dates on your calendar:


Edison HS - Wednesday, June 15 at  2 p.m.   

Eagle Bank Arena


Hayfield SS - Friday, June 17 at 4:30 p.m.    

Hayfield SS


Lee HS - Thursday, June 16 at 2 p.m.     

Eagle Bank Arena


Mount Vernon HS - Friday, June 17 at 2 p.m.

Mount Vernon HS Field House


Jefferson HS - Saturday, June 18 at 7 p.m.   

Eagle Bank Arena


West Potomac HS - Monday, June 20 at 9:30 a.m.  

Eagle Bank Arena


Things change!  Eagle Bank Arena was formerly known as the Patriot Center at George Mason University.